Boys’ basketball wins over St. Francis on senior night

Boys’ basketball wins over St. Francis on senior night

Off of a pick by forward Kyle Hearlihy '19, guard Johnny Juzang '20 shoots his first of three three-point shots in a row to start the first quarter. Credit: Keila McCabe/Chronicle

Boys’ basketball won against St. Francis 68-53 on senior night. The Wolverines’ overall record improves to 15-5 and league record of 3-1. Before the game, forward Kyle Hearlihy ’19, guard Darren Long ’19 and guard Trae Meyer-Walley ’19 were honored in a senior night ceremony. All three seniors, along with guard Johnny Juzang ’20 and forward Mason Hooks ’20, started in tonight’s contest.

All three seniors, (from left to right) guard Darren Long ’19, guard Trae Meyer-Walley ’19 and Kyle Hearlihy ’19, playing defense on their senior night against St. Francis High School. Credit: Keila McCabe/Chronicle

“It felt great to play alongside my teammates and especially [Meyer-Walley] and [Long],” Hearlihy said. “I will definitely miss the guys the most. The bonds I made with my teammates this year will never be forgotten.”

To start the game, Meyer-Walley drove to the basket and scored for the Wolverines. Shortly afterwards, Juzang hit three three-point shots, giving the team an early lead. Juzang said that the game’s momentum and early lead was key to the win.

“It was fun coming out and starting the game with the seniors, not something we usually get to do so that was lots of fun,” Juzang said. “We just came out and focused on playing our game and tried to take away what they like to do. We were shooting well especially in the first half and from there it was a pretty easy game.”

Three-point shots were a trend throughout the game for both teams and the Wolverines’ sharp shooting gave them an edge. Wing Brase Dottin ’20 said the quick start set the tone for the game.

“We tried to create our own energy from the start and get this win for the seniors,” Dottin said. “All of the seniors started out the game great and we rode that momentum into the big first half lead.”

Throughout the game, Head Coach David Rebibo switched out players and all the guys on the court were able to share the ball. Every player on the Wolverines’ roster scored a point. Holden McRae ’20 said that with the seniors in mind, the team worked well together.

“Our two main focuses for tonight were the seniors and getting the win,” McRae said. “Because we all came into the game focusing on the seniors rather than our individual performances, we had an unselfish mindset from start to finish.”

The Wolverines had a clear size advantage on the St. Francis Knights, which led them to be more in control on defense.

“Everybody played with great intensity and despite a couple of miscues, we were pretty solid defensively which helped us secure the win,” McRae said.

With a comfortable lead, for last two minutes of the game, the players on the court were the three seniors, along with guard Cameron Thrower ’22 and wing Adam Hinton ’21. Thrower, as the only freshman on the team, commented on the feeling of senior night.

“I thought my first senior night went pretty well,” Thrower said. “I had fun before the game with [Long], [Meyer-Walley], and [Hearlihy]. Also, when they were playing, it was exciting to see them score to start off the game.”

The Wolverines have two more league games left until the Mission League tournament, followed by playoffs. McRae talked about the team’s progress and the mentality heading deeper into the season.

“We have taken great strides this season in improving,” McRae said. “The next step for us is honing in on the details that make really good teams great. Whether that is one extra pass offensively, or being great defensively on the third and fourth swings, it’s doing all the little things to reach that championship level of play.”

The squad’s next game is against Westchester High School in the Rolling Hills State Preview at Cerritos College with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.

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